Published 3:15 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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It is hard for me to imagine that my parents are now great-grandparents. My parents don’t seem that old to me. They are just Dad and Mom, not great-grandpa and great-grandma. Recently, my little sister took a picture at a family gathering where my parents and my brothers-in-law, who are also great-grandparents, were present.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

I can remember many family gatherings when my siblings had small children, and now those children have grown up and are bringing their children to the family gatherings. I have looked at the picture my sister took several times. There are my parents, my siblings, their children and my siblings’ grandchildren all together.

All of the grandchildren’s families weren’t present for the picture. It is so hard to get everyone together for any occasion. We are all pulled in many different directions. Siblings have spouses that want their families to gather together, too. Whenever you can get a crowd that includes four generations, it is worth stopping to take some pictures. It is a rare event to get my siblings together with our parents.

My siblings try to get together to celebrate my parents’ birthdays. They were born one day a part. We take my dad out for dinner on a weekend close to his birthday. Sometimes my siblings have all done separate things for my mom, extending out her celebration, and other times we have gotten together for some family fun.

For several years now, we have gathered at my mother’s house and put up her Christmas tree. My Mom loves Christmas and the holiday season. When we were kids, we weren’t allowed to put up our Christmas tree until at least the middle of December, so to put up her tree in late November is a real treat. She loves having us around and is glad to have the tree up.

I store my Mom’s Christmas decorations in my shed. Some years I have arrived with her decorations, only to discover her living room filled with stuffed animals. Mom heard of a program that gives stuffed animals to needy children and they needed help collecting them. Mom spends the entire year scouring thrift stores looking for stuffed animals. Some that she finds still have their tags on them, while others need to be washed, mended and given new ribbons.

I have lost count of how many stuffed animals my mother has donated to help needy children through the years. But I know that many children across the Triad have been touched by the love my mother put into their new favorite stuffed animals. It doesn’t matter if it is her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren or a child in need, my mother wants them all to feel loved, cared for and to have something special for Christmas.

I know that no family is perfect, mine included. But that doesn’t take away from the need that each of us has to feel a part of a loving family. I am fortunate because I know that I am loved in my family and in my wife’s family. I am also loved and appreciated in the family of God, at my local church.

If your parents or grandparents have departed from this life, there are people in a local church who can help fill the hole that has been left in your heart. If your children or grandchildren have moved far away and you rarely see them, I can assure you that there are children in a local church who need your love and guidance in their lives. That’s why we are called the family of God. We need people in the body of Christ who will be the elders, leaders who can guide the family through faith and wisdom. We need young people who will stand on the shoulders of the elderly and push the church forward and advance the Kingdom of God. I need you and you need me. That’s why we are the family of God.

I want to encourage you, if you are not already connected into a local church family, to get connected in. There is much for each one of us to do. We need to pass on the Good News that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to save us from our sins. He came to heal our broken hearts. He came to help us find our place in the family of God. He came to tell us and show us how deeply God loves and cares for each one of us. Come on, join the family of God and let’s celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or